By Laurie Morrisey

When you talk about great harmonica players in our area you hear names like Bill Rhoades, Jim Wallace, Mike Moothart, Curtis Salgado, Paul deLay, Arthur Moore, Mitch Kashmar, Hank Shreve, and Dave Mathis. Dave is a long time staple in the Portland music scene, with a career spanning over 40 years.


Dave Mathis (photo by Tony Kutter)

“I started playing professionally in the mid 70’s–acoustically and electric in duos’ and band settings. I also did a half hour TV show on channel 8 called ‘Eight Lively Arts’ in the 70’s.”

Dave says his love of the harp came after hearing Sonny Boy Williamson and the Yard Birds. “I knew I wanted to play blues harp. Once home from Vietnam, I started to check out the local music scene. Brown Sugar was always my favorite. I had done some Shakespeare in high school and later a part in a production of The Fantastic’s, so I wasn’t afraid of getting up in front of people. After doing a few parties and club gigs, I knew I wanted to play harp and sing in a band.”

Dave describes his style as Chicago with some West Coast jump/swing. He plays both diatonic and chromatic harmonicas and also sings. For the last six years Dave has played with Michael Osborn and the Drivers. The band consists of Michael Osborn, lead guitar and vocals; John Moore on drums; and K.G. Jackson on bass guitar and vocals.

Basically self-taught, Dave taught himself to play harmonica by listening to records. Later he took several lessons from Paul deLay and studied with Howard Levy for a week in 1989. He says his musical influences include Sonny Terry, Little and Big Walter, Sonny Boy #1 and # 2, Paul deLay, Norton Buffalo, Mitch Kashmar and Kim Wilson.

Dave’s talent has been recognized with two Muddy Awards for Traditional Blues Act while he was with Sheila and Backwater Blues.

He can be heard on four CD’s: Traditional Blues with Kelly Joe Phelps; Blues Police with Steve Cameron; The Glamorous Life with Michael Osborn and the Drivers; and In Your Face, which is assorted tunes he has done over the last 20 years.

Dave has also played with several bands, including; The Beaver Trail Boys (western swing band) in the late 70’s; Liquid Blues for 20 years (rocking blues); Kelly Joe Phelps for four years (traditional acoustic blues); Shelia and Backwater Blues for four years; Blues Police with Steve Cameron; K.G. Jackson and Dave in a duo and band format; and Terry Robb and Dave in a duo and band format. “Playing 20 plus years with the Liquid Blues Band—Stan Sherer, Frank Solari, Kelly Stites, Jeff Ommert and Ron Ferrante—was a good experience musically.”

In closing, Dave says, “Everybody that I have played with over the years has been an influence on me, as well as my music. It’s reflected in my style of playing.” He says all the musicians in Michael Osborn and the Drivers have years of experience and “there’s a lot of talent. I love this band and its blend of original and cover tunes. Even with three of us singing, I get plenty of opportunity for good vocal work for myself, and we have a good time up there.”

For a current list of where you can hear Michael Osborn and the Drivers, visit their website at

The Cascade Blues Association’s 2014 Journey To Memphis competition is now set. The first round will happen on Friday, June 6th and Saturday, June 7th, at The Lehrer, 8775 SW Canyon Lane. Fourteen acts will vie against one another over these two nights in attempt to reach the finals at the Waterfront Blues Festival on Friday, July 4th and then the eventual winner will head to Memphis, Tennessee next January to take part in the International Blues Challenge.

Solo/Duo acts will be in competition alongside the bands each night. The top two highest scoring acts, regardless if solo/duo or band, from each night will advance to the final four at the Waterfront. The acts will be scored by three judges on five weighted categories: blues content, talent-vocals, talent-instrumentation, originality and overall stage presence. Acts will perform twenty minute sets.

Entry for each night is $10.00. All money taken in at the door will go to the prize funds to help the acts in their travel expenses to Memphis. There are no guest lists for this event, everybody pays unless performing on stage that night. This admission fee includes the acts’ family, friends, roadies, etc.

The schedule for this year’s first round is as follows:

Friday, June 6th:

8:30 pm – Pat Stilwell Band
9:00 pm – Hell Hounds
9:30 pm – Ben Rice & The iLLamatics
10:00 pm – Land Of The Living
10:30 pm – Anne Weiss
11:00 pm – Rae Gordon Band
11:30 pm – Papa Dynamite & The Jive

Saturday, June 7th:

8:30 pm – Martin Henry & The Blues Benders
9:00 pm – Tim Connor
9:30 pm – Angel Bouchet
10:00 pm – David Pinsky & Phil Newton
10:30 pm – Gabriel Cox
11:00 pm – Tevis Hodge Jr.
11:30 pm – Still Water Vibes

(Times are subject to change)

ramblings201306BNGreg Johnson, CBA President

Beware, rant ahead.

Over the years I have heard it said many, many times regarding shows, from fans, venue owners and musicians, “Where are all the CBA members at such and such a show?” People, it is not the responsibility of the Cascade Blues Association to tell our members what shows that they have to attend. If you look at our monthly calendar, there are a crazy number of venues in this city offering shows seven nights a week. Compare this with many other cities, many with far greater populations, which do not have such a plethora of performances and venues to choose from night after night. And even with all of those venues who report their calendar dates to us, this is by no means all that are out there with live blues music happening regularly.

The CBA is here to inform you what is going on. We try to include all that we’re aware of. It is not solely our job to find out from everywhere what is going on. That responsibility still has to come from the artists and venues if they want to inform potential audiences to attend. Just because we may do co-sponsorships on a number of shows, this is also not a guarantee that it is going to pull in a full house every time. It is an incentive for our members to attend by offering discounts for these events. And we fully intend on continuing doing these as it helps to spread the word on what may be going on that you may want to consider. But the bottom line for all shows is that it is up to the members to decide who they’re going to see and where they’ll spend their hard-earned money.

The competition for your dollar is incredible. There may be touring artists hitting town on occasion, but we are insanely overwhelmed in Portland with top-shelf musicians who live and play here regularly. And those local artists have their own followings who will choose to go to their shows every time the chance arises. There is nothing wrong with that. Support our local musicians every chance you have. But do not place the blame on CBA members if there is not a large crowd every night they play. We are one of the largest blues societies in the country, but that only amounts to around 1000 people. And 1000 people are not going to fill every venue in this city every night. We are talking about a city with about 2.5 million people living in the metro area. 1000 members is just a drop in the bucket when compared with the numbers of that population who attend music events, not only blues, routinely.

I have asked many times over the years, “How do you know that CBA members are not in attendance? Do you know each and every member by name or sight?” I certainly don’t. There are only eight board of director members in the CBA, so if you’re judging attendance by the CBA from the board appearing at these shows, there is simply no way that they can be everywhere they’d like to be. And like the rest of you, the board has to pay for their admission, too. We also have to pick and choose who we can afford to see. And also like all of you, they’re going to have their favorites that they’re most likely going to go out to see as well.

Another point. You also cannot assume that because there are not a lot of people requesting the discount for co-sponsored events at the door that CBA members are not there. I have been told by one venue owner that even though we offer the discount there is only a small number that actually ask for it. And looking through the crowd at many of these shows I have recognized a great number of our members that I know. I do not always ask for it and I know of several others who do not as well.

What it all comes down to is we are quite spoiled in this city when it comes to blues performances on just about any given night. Go out and see all that you can. Check out new acts if you want. Try to attend events with touring acts so we can keep seeing them make plans to stop on Portland when they’re in the area. But if the crowds are not there, please do not point fingers at CBA members for not being there. Chances are that they’re probably at another show showing their support for the blues. We cannot be more than one place at a time; as much as we’d like to be.

Thanks to all of you, fans, musicians and venues, for making Portland a world class blues city. Keep on supporting the music you love by seeing those you select. There is no wrong decision.

Melody Ballroom, 615 SE Alder St., Portland

Wednesday, May 7th, 7:00 pm

Members always Free – non-members $3.00

Opening Acoustic Set – Melody Guy & Jake Blair

Second Electric Set – August In Blue

Every month we have a terrific line-up of talented local artists perform for you at the monthly general membership meetings. This city has a vast wealth of outstanding artists who call Portland home and we’re exceptionally proud of the acts we have showcasing for you this month as they display some of the younger musicians that are making great strides in making our local blues community even stronger.

Opening the night we will have the duet of Melody Guy and Jake Blair. Guy is a singer-songwriter who has been touring the country as a national act that has been based out of Nashville. Several years ago she met Jake Blair, one of the area’s top young blues-rock guitar slingers, and the two of them hit it off quite well on stage. On a tour Guy was making this past year, the two met up again and they more than just lit things up on stage. The pair married this past February and have been performing together as often as possible.

Jake Blair & Melody Guy

Jake Blair & Melody Guy (photo by Christa McIntyre)

Melody Guy is a native Oregonian, with nine albums already to her credit, including her most recent Diamond On The Street. Her music covers a wide range of genres, all done exceptionally well, with several national musicians covering her work.

Jake Blair first struck the local attention more than a decade back as one of the young blood guitarists pursuing blues in a generation that also included Ty Curtis and Ben Rice. He won a Muddy Award for best new act in 2001 and has progressed as an exceptional singer-songwriter with a new album on the horizon and rearing to make his own mark on the national circuit.

Certain to be a memorable performance, let’s help kick off their marriage and working together with a rousing appreciation. We already know that they’re both over the top musicians, so don’t miss out seeing them at the meeting.

August In Blue (press photo)

August In Blue (press photo)

For the second set, we will also be making up for the February meeting that was snowed out and bringing back a group that performed at last summer’s picnic. But with an altered line-up from what we saw then. August In Blue has been a long-time dream of guitarists Richard Staats and Josh Makosky, who have been making music together since they were in the 8th grade. In the summer of 2012 the two joined forces to blend the upbeat precision of rock and funk with the soul and emotion of the blues. Thus the birth of August In Blue. A band formulated and assembled on the month of the Blue Moon. Both have performed with bands on their own, Richard with Stupefyin’ Jones and Josh with Angel Bouchet, The Space Monkeys and was prominently featured in the Shari’s 3 AM recordings. With the fiery, funky thump that you come to expect from Calen Uhlig, plus the soul and groove of the amazing Brian Foxworth, the combination becomes explosive. Having this rhythm section alongside this pair of hot guitar players just means that the members are certainly in for a big treat at the meeting. And for the meeting, throw in the extraordinary vocals of Naomi Tee as a special guest and the set is going to be cookin’ with grease for a good time for sure!!

We will also be having our regular free ticket drawing, so make sure you pick up yours at the door for a chance to win CDs and tickets. And jump into the winner take all drawing for a chance to win a full package of CDs put together for this meeting. The winner take all tickets are only a $1.00 a chance.

Come out and share another night of fun and music at the CBA monthly meeting. Always guaranteed to be a great time with good friends.

Mitch Kashmar & Robbie Laws Blues Party Are Two Shows Happening At Duff’s Garage During CBA Appreciation Month

Duff’s Garage will officially open their new location at NE 82nd & Russell in May. Just ½ mile north of I-84 and across the street from Madison High School. Jon & Jennifer Wallace will continue presenting the best in local and touring blues, rockabilly, country & western, surf and garage bands.

Over the years Duff’s Garage and the Cascade Blues Association has had quite a healthy relationship and in appreciation of our members, Duff’s would like to offer a $1.00 discount for all blues-related shows Thursday through Saturday throughout the month of April before the big move. You must present your current CBA membership card to receive the discount.

During the month you will be able to catch such extraordinary acts such as Joe McMurrian (every Thursday except 4/17), the DK Stewart Sextet (4/4), Big Monti Amundson & Toledo Ketsch (4/5), Bill Rhoades (4/11) and from Seattle The Fat Tones (4/18). Sorry, this discount does not apply to the Lily Wilde Orchestra on 4/7, Tuesday Dover Weinberg Quartet shows, Wednesday Suburban Slim jams, or the Soul Vaccination show on 4/12.

But two special shows of note in April are:

Mitch Kashmar on Friday, April 25th. World renowned harmonica master and Delta Groove recording artist will be performing his last show in Portland before embarking out on a spring European tour. You will not have another opportunity to catch Mitch in town until late June, right before the Waterfront Blues Festival.. Mitch will be joined by a group of Portland’s best players for this night at Duff’s Garage that is guaranteed to be one of the hottest shows on the West Coast..

Also happening that same weekend will be a Blues Party thrown by Robbie Laws. And to ensure that it’s a true party, he has invited some of his good friends for what is certain to be the final big weekend blast happening in the original location for Duff’s. Expect to see along with the Robbie Laws Band, harmonica ace Rich Layton, guitar masters Chris Carlson and AC Porter, and everybody’s favorite vocalist in Portland Duffy Bishop.

A huge thanks to Jon & Jennifer Wallace, Joey Scruggs and the entire staff at Duff’s Garage. We’re looking forward to the new location, but let’s send this one out in a spectacular bash. Please attend as many of these shows as you can.

Keb Mo - press photoSince releasing his self-titled album in 1994, that garnered him wide-spread acclaim and a WC Handy Award (now known as the Blues Music Awards) as Best Artist Debut, Keb’ Mo’ has built a reputation as one of the finest musicians and songwriters of his generation. Two decades later, Keb’ Mo’ continues to enthrall audiences and have awards reaped upon him, including three Grammy Awards. His music is heard in countless television shows and movies and he has performed on some of the largest stages around the world, including a recent performance at The White House for the president.

Touring in support of his most recent recording The Reflection, Keb’ Mo’ will be returning to Portland for a night at The Aladdin Theater on Wednesday, April 30th for an 8:00 pm performance. Tickets are $42.00 – $59.00 and available at Minors under 21 are permitted when accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Aladdin Theater is located at 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave. Keb’ Mo’ has always been a favorite touring artist in Portland, so plan on purchasing your tickets early as this one will definitely sell-out.

Kenny Kofler (photo by Greg Johnson)

Kenny Kofler (photo by Greg Johnson)

We were all shocked by the recent devastation occurring in Washington this last month with the landslide happening in Oso. We see tragedies like this happen on the news quite often, but it really makes for a tremendous feeling of helplessness when it occurs so close to home. A number of benefit concerts have been held around the Seattle area with numerous bands, some even from Portland, lending a hand to raise money for the rescue and recovery efforts happening in that small community.

Portland musician Kenny Kofler felt that we could offer more help in our own community for our friends to the north as well. So he has lined up a series of nights at various venues with the help of a number of his musical friends for what he has called the Oso Much Love Benefit Concerts. This may just be the beginning of several more to come. Please plan on attending one or as many as you can to help raise the money necessary to offer as relief aid for Oso.

The following events for Oso Much Love have been scheduled:

Saturday May, 3rd- 9pm @ Montavilla Station– Kenny Kofler with special guests Jim Solberg(bass), Lou Solomon(keys) and Scott Van Dusen(drums)

Sunday May, 4th- 5pm @ Cadigan’s Corner Bar– Feature comedian Lisa Curtis followed by Naomi Tee and Soul Provider with guests

(10% of bar sales to be donated to Oso Much Love)

Tuesday May, 6th- 8pm @ Coyote’s– Laura Cunard and special guests All-Star jam

Saturday May, 10th- 3pm @ The Lehrer– Kenny Kofler and The Third Power, 4pm Kellie Jones with special guests Jim Solberg and Tim Helm, 5pm The Vermen

Saturday May, 10th- 8pm @ The Lodge– Rich Layton and The Troublemakers, 10pm Kenny Kofler and The Third Power

(Sound equipment donated and operated by Tim Helm)




Those of us in Portland obviously do not need any introduction to Fiona Boyes. After all, she chose Portland as her home for a short period and became everybody’s best friend while here. But for those of you who may have been living under a rock, or were not living in Portland yourself while Fiona was here, here is a short piece of her bio from her website:

Fiona Boyes - press photo by Brandy Kayzakian-Rowe

Fiona Boyes (photo by Brandy Kayzakian-Rowe)

“Australian Blues guitarist and singer, Fiona Boyes, has been variously described by reviewers as a ‘musical anomaly’, ‘Bonnie Raitt’s evil twin’, or simply as ‘scaring the hell out of me’.   How did this fair-haired gal, born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, of Scottish and English heritage, become an internationally recognised and awarded recording and touring artist?   How did she come to be the first woman and non-American to win the International Blues Challenge in Memphis?   Why did some of the great Mississippi Delta and Chicago blues giants, such as the late Pinetop Perkins and Hubert Sumlin, choose to describe her as one of the best women guitar players since Memphis Minnie, record on her albums, and share stages with her at international Blues festivals?   How does it come about that the Mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi, birthplace of the Blues, should present Fiona with the ‘Key To The City’, recognising her as an Aussie ambassador of the Blues.”

Well, if you need the answers to the questions raised, all you have to do is simply attendone of her performances. And lucky for us all, Fiona Boyes will be returning “home” for a short visit in early May before embarking off on a European tour. Three shows scheduled include The Lehrer ( 8775 SW Canyon Lane) on Thursday, May 1st, 8:00 pm; Mac’s at the Vet (1626 Willamette Street, Eugene), Friday, May 2nd, 8:00 pm; and Duff’s Garage (2530 NE 82nd), Sunday, May 4th, 5:00 pm. The Thursday and Sunday are Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored events. All shows are $10.00 admission, with a $2.00 discount for those showing current mbership cards to any blues society.

Fiona Boyes will be joined by her former Fortune Teller band member Dave Kahl on

bass and multi-Blues Music Award nominee Jimi Bott on drums for Thursday and Friday’s shows, and CBA Hall of Fame drummer Boyd Small will fill the skins on Sunday. All shows are also planning on featuring special guests of the many friends Fiona has in our area. Do not miss out on catching any of these nights as it has been a couple years since her last visit. Way too long Fiona, we’re glad your stopping by home again.

Walter Trout (photo by Jeff Katz)

Walter Trout (photo by Jeff Katz)

Walter Trout may be one of the most powerful guitar players the blues world has ever witnessed, working with the likes of John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Jesse Ed Davis, Canned Heat and leader of his own outfit. But as a human he is as vulnerable as each and every one of us. Fighting liver disease for the past several months, Trout has been hospitalized at UCLA, in and out of intensive care while awaiting a potential liver transplant that is necessary to save his life. Forced to cancel most of his scheduled touring for the year, Trout is in desperate need to raise money to support his family and to cover the extensive fees that will arise from surgery, hospitalization, rehab and physical therapy

There have been a handful of venues and organizations around the world that have stepped up to support Walter Trout in his time of need. A huge thanks goes out to Jan Bisconer, Larry Toering and the Trails End Saloon for putting together a full weekend of performances aimed at bringing a little comfort to Trout from his friends and fans here in Oregon.

Running over Saturday, May 3rd and Sunday, May 4th, both dates will start at 3:00 pm and continue until closing each night. Suggested donation is $10.00, but no one will be turned away and there is no set minimum for donation.100% of all donations will go directly to Walter & Marie Trout. Guests with financial hardships are welcome. We need everyone coming together with prayers, hugs, music, donations, dance, togetherness, wellness, healing, appreciation & love, for all! This event will be family friendly, with those under 21 able to attend up until 9:00 pm. A silent auction will also be held. The Muddy Award winning Trails End Saloon is located at 1320 Main Street in Oregon City.

Performances confirmed at press time include:

Saturday, May 3rd: “The Bluesmen” Jimmy McG & Dennis Mitchell; Margo Tufo Band featuring Doug Rowell; Franco Paletta & The Stingers; Brian Harrison & Last Draw; D Vincent Black & The Jupiter Gurus.

Sunday, May 4th: Ron Hampton; Annika Forrest Project; Tracey Fordice & The 8-Balls; Bridge City Blues Band; Nico Wind & Free Reign; Bolt Upright, Duffy Bishop, Chris Carlson & Friends

Please send prayers, posts, letters….. it all matters. Money buys us a lot . . . it does not buy us our Spirituality ~ Donations at the door *no set min….we can all contribute to the best of our abilities! If you’re unable to attend this event, you can still help. Please visit the following fundraising website and make your donation. Thank you.

1604705_761032323916755_4712554003943019247_n[1] Robert Johnson is perhaps one of the most mythical and most highly acclaimed bluesmen of the 20th Century. With only 29 songs recorded before his premature death at age 27 in 1938, he changed the world when it comes to the way that music sounds and is being played. Though not as well known in life as he is in death, Johnson has influenced generations of guitarists with his masterful string work with those few songs that have etched their way into the vocabulary of the most recognized tunes ever written. And they continue to work their magic on newer guitarists today.

In 2011 there were a number of concerts held around the country in recognition of Robert Johnson’s 100th birthday on May 8, 1911. One of these shows took place at Portland’s Alberta Rose Theatre to high praise. Now, three years later, an encore presentation of the music of Robert Johnson will once again take place at the Alberta Rose on Sunday, May 11th. The concert will be another amazing line-up of some of the Portland area’s finest blues and roots artists. Included in this show will be Mary Flower, Ural Thomas, Terry Robb, Joe McMurrian, Mark Lemhouse, Tevis Hodge Jr, Lloyd Jones, Lewi Longmire & Anita Lee Endicott and more to be announced.

Showtime for the Celebration of Robert Johnson’s 103rd birthday is 8:00 pm. The Alberta Rose Theatre is located at 3000 NE Alberta Street. This is a 21 and over only event. Tickets are $20.00 general admission or $30.00 preferred seating in the first five rows and are available at This is a Cascade Blues Association co-sponsored event, members can receive a $5.00 discount when ordering on-line by using the code “CBA.” As a special bonus for the CBA, for every ticket sold after the show expenses for the Alberta Rose has been met, $2.00 will be donated to the CBA’s Blues in the Schools program which show producers Joe McMurrian and Joey Scruggs would like to help revitalize. Thanks guys!